Sarasota County Schools News

Erin del Castillo Named Principal at Riverview High School

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Erin Del Castillo

SARASOTA COUNTY, Feb. 27, 2018 –Erin del Castillo has been named the new principal of Riverview High School (RHS) effective July 1, pending Board approval. Ms. del Castillo currently serves as principal of Venice Elementary School (VES) where she has worked as an administrator since 2016. She returns to RHS where she was an assistant principal from 2010 – 2015 and oversaw the teen parent program and Head Start initiatives, and supervised the English and reading departments. Ms. del Castillo’s appointment comes after the departure of Paul Burns who left RHS in December of 2017 to take a position with the Florida Department of Education. Kathy Wilks has been serving as acting principal of RHS during the transition and will remain in this post through the current school year.

“We are excited for the opportunity to bring Erin back to Riverview High School,” stated Superintendent Todd Bowden. “There were many qualified applicants for the position but Erin’s strong affinity with the high school and previous work experience make her an exceptional candidate to fulfill this role. I also want to thank Kathy Wilks for her dedication during the transition.”

“Riverview High School is a dynamic institution that blends academic excellence with a variety of opportunities for students to pursue their passion in and out of the classroom,” noted Erin del Castillo. “I am honored for the opportunity to lead such an incredible school and look forward to collaborating with the Riverview community to help every student reach his/her highest potential.”

“Erin is the perfect person at the perfect time to lead Riverview High School as principal,” said Stephen Cantees, executive director of High Schools. “She brings a strong, instructional background and is ready to tackle the opportunities and challenges she will face at Riverview. I also want to personally thank Kathy Wilks for her steadfast and deliberate leadership during this transition.”

In addition to serving at VES and RHS, Ms. del Castillo held the position of assistant principal at Pine View, a gifted magnet school where she oversaw all elementary teachers, families, programs and discipline for grades 2 – 5. She holds a Master of Science in educational leadership from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, OH. The school district will begin a search for a new principal at Venice Elementary this spring. Ms. del Castillo will continue to lead Venice Elementary during the transition period.  

About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be graded A every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:

District to accept 2018-19 athletic choice requests March 1-May 15

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, Feb. 27, 2018 – The window for non-traditional students wanting Athletic Choice for the 2018-2019 school year will be from Mar. 1 through May 15, 2018. Students that were granted Athletic Choice the previous year will not need to reapply. 

If parents have any questions, please email or call 941-927-9000 extension 34120. Non-traditional students include those attending Pine View, Sarasota Military Academy, Suncoast Polytechnical High School, Imagine North Port and all home-schooled students. Students awarded Athletic Choice would have to play for the traditional high school they choose for all sports for the 2018-2019 school year.

About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be graded A every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:

NOTE: The application for Athletic Choice for 2018-19 is included with this news release.

District to accept 2018-19 school choice requests Feb. 12-March 16

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, Feb. 12, 2018 – Parents and guardians residing anywhere in the state of Florida are now able to apply for their children to attend a public school outside their regular attendance zone through the Controlled Open Enrollment process, more commonly known as School Choice.   

Sarasota County Schools invites parents and guardians from any school district in the state of Florida whose child is not subject to a current expulsion or suspension to apply for a 2018-19 School Choice assignment to a public school identified as having available space capacity. Applications for School Choice will be accepted from Monday, Feb. 12, through Friday, March 16, 2018. 

For the first time, the district’s school choice process requires that an online application be completed. Beginning today, parents and guardians can complete and submit their online applications using a computer, tablet or cell phone. If assistance is needed to access and submit an online application, parents/guardians may contact the Office of School Choice at 941-927-9000, ext. 32255. Parents will be notified of choice assignments in May.

Available seats at some of the schools that are open to School Choice may be limited to certain grade levels if those schools are near their enrollment capacity for those grades. The complete list of schools open to School Choice is available at COE assignments will be determined by a random lottery process, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Students living in Sarasota County who are applying for an assignment through the School Choice process will not be displaced by the applicants living outside the county.    

Schools that are open to COE for 2018-19 may host open houses or other parent information events. Parents may visit the websites of schools on the “open” list or contact those schools for more information. All school websites are accessible via the district site at

Other educational choice options, such as charter schools, magnet schools or magnet programs do not require the completion of a school choice application. Students interested in these district school choice options should contact the school or program of interest directly.

Parents whose children receive their choice school through the COE process will be responsible for providing them with transportation to and from school. All questions may be directed to the Office of School Choice or by visiting

About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be graded A every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:

NOTE: A list of schools open and closed to School Choice for 2018-19 is included with this news release. 

Free Flu Shot Clinics Scheduled Feb. 12 and Feb. 13

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Feb. 9, 2018 -  Free flu shot clinics for all Sarasota County School students after school on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12 and 13 from 3:30-6pm. Below is an updated flu consent form and list of locations. This is a free opportunity please fill out and bring the permission slip below.

On Monday, Feb. 12, flu vaccines can be obtained after school until 6pm at:

Tuesday, Feb. 13, flu vaccines will be offered after school until 6pm at:

The flu is particularly contagious this year and the CDC is recommending the flu vaccine as the first line of defense. Parents are encouraged to have their children vaccinated against the flu. Free flu vaccines for students are also available at no cost every week day at the Health Department in Sarasota and North Port. If you have questions about these free flu shots for students, please contact the School Health Office at 941-927-9000 x 32101.

Sarasota High School Names Spencer Hodges as New Head Football Coach

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Spencer Hodges

Spencer Hodges

SARASOTA, FL (February 2, 2018) – Sarasota High School is excited to welcome Spencer Hodges as the next head coach of the Sailor football team. The search for a new head coach began in November, and over ninety interested applicants from throughout the country submitted their names for consideration. The dedicated interview committee included school administration, staff, district administration, parent and community participation. After an extensive paper screening and interviewing several candidates in early January, the committee continued to search and interviewed additional interested applicants, eventually landing on Hodges. “Through this very competitive process, we believe we found an outstanding coach who will instill a great work ethic and enthusiasm both on the field and on our campus,” said Principal David Jones. “We set the standard very high, knowing that we needed the one right person; we’ve found him in Spencer Hodges. He comes to us with award-winning collegiate playing experience, and he has an impressive professional, collegiate, and high school coaching background.” Coach Hodges comes to Sarasota High School from Braden River High where he served as the Tight End and Running Backs Coach since 2016 and helped lead Braden River to the 2018 Class 7A regional semifinals.

Prior to coaching at Braden River, Hodges was an Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator at IMG Academy from 2014-2016. Hodges also spent time as an intern for the Arena League Jacksonville Sharks and was a graduate assistant at Jacksonville University where he also was a student athlete starting at Offensive Line and serving as team captain. Hodges has local roots, as a student athlete at Manatee High School, Hodges earned First Team All-State in 2006 and was named to the Sarasota and Manatee All Decade Team for 2000-2010. According to Coach Hodges, “Sarasota has the tradition, it has the history, it has the right people and facilities. I’m just one piece. I’m beyond excited to meet everyone who is or wants to be involved.” Sarasota High School is excited to introduce Coach Hodges to all returning and interested Sarasota High students on Monday, February 5 and start building its team to be ready to compete in the fall. We hope to see all students, staff, families, alumni, and supporters of the Sailors in the stands next year cheering on our football team! Go Sailors

About Sarasota High School

Sarasota High School is the “first and finest” high school in Sarasota County. First opened in 1913, Sarasota High School has a rich tradition of excellence and community support. Sarasota High School is home to academically-rigorous programs including the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program and the Mathematics Science and Technology (MaST) Program. Sarasota High School is also home to championship athletics programs providing a world-class educational and social experience. Sarasota High School continues to set the mark for excellence in education. Go Sailors!

School district and union agree to new deal

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, Feb. 2, 2018 – After lengthy negotiations, the Sarasota County School District and the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association have agreed to a new two-year deal benefiting Sarasota teachers and non-instructional employees.

Under the new deal, in each of the next two years, teachers with an effective performance evaluation will receive a 3.25 percent salary increase. Teachers earning a highly effective evaluation will receive a 4.25 percent pay increase. Also under the agreement, a 3.75 percent increase has been agreed upon for non-instructional employees. This agreement recognizes the critical role teachers and staff play in helping students attain a high level of academic achievement in the classroom and beyond and does away with the traditional lane, step and longevity method of teacher compensation.

“I am thrilled for the teachers and staff in our county,” said Superintendent Todd Bowden. “For months, they have patiently waited for pay increases as we faithfully worked to provide a new performance structure throughout the district. With the new deal, we recognize the amazing dedication and passion teachers bring to classrooms every day.”

SC/TA President Pat Gardner said, “I would like to thank the superintendent and school board members for recognizing the hard work and dedication of their teachers and staff. We now look forward to passing the one mill tax referendum that is so important in making our school district an 'A' rated district. I want to thank the community for their support on behalf of their teachers and staff.”

In addition, both parties agreed to an annual first-year teacher salary of $43,150 for the 2017-18 school year with an increase to $44,340 next year. This continues the trend for Sarasota County Schools to offer its teachers a highly competitive salary in the State of Florida.

The bargaining units will need to ratify and approve the agreement as does the Sarasota County School Board, which is expected to vote on the new deal March 6. Should this timeline be realized and new agreement adopted, salary adjustments will take effect immediately, and employees can expect to receive retroactive pay in the March 15 pay period.

Family Saturdays program at ACE offers bonding activities for children and adults

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Jan. 31 — Adult & Community Enrichment (ACE) at Suncoast Technical College offers a new selection of Family Saturdays classes this winter, featuring affordable admission to classes of special interest to families.

Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the classes are designed to bring generations of family members together to learn something new and have fun in a creative environment. For a few hours on a Saturday, children ages 10 and older can pair up with a significant adult in their lives and discover a new world of learning.

Family Saturdays are made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County through the Allen Wirtz Nobbe and Jo Bowen Nobbe Fund. Thanks to this grant, the course fees have been reduced considerably, making the class offerings more affordable to families. ALL CLASSES COST $15 PER PERSON.

ACE Family Saturday classes

  • Feb. 3: Let’s Make Earrings with Louise Gallagher, 9:30am – 11:30am
  • Feb. 10: Beginner Website Building with Bonnie Hammer, 1pm – 3pm
  • March 3: Create Your Own Fairy Garden with Gary Patton, 10am – noo
  • March 10: Yikes! Bugs – Whimsical Glass Art with Liana Martin, 9:30am – 11a
  • March 17: Pizza Pizza! with Michelle Goggins, 10:30am – 12:30p
  • March 24: Design a Stepping Stone with Patricia Rockwood, 12:30pm – 2:30pm

ACE plans to continue Family Saturdays into the spring term with a new selection of classes. To learn more about ACE Family Saturdays, visit Families can register for the classes online, at the ACE office at Suncoast Technical College at 4748 Beneva Road, Building 3, Sarasota, or by calling 941-361-6590.

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Communications and Community Relations
Tracey Beeker, Director

Kelsey Whealy, Media Relations Specialist

Caroline Lee, Administrative Assistant;
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Mina Ajrab, Manager

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Phone: 941-927-4009 or
941-927-9000 ext. 74009
Fax: 941-927-2539
1960 Landings Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34231
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Phone: 941-361-6355
Fax: 941-361-6358
4748 Beneva Road
Sarasota, Florida 34233

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Lyndsey Cantees, Coordinator

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Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31500
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